HOUSTON, TX – January 5, 2023 – For Pasadena-based culinary entrepreneur Dena Baughman, nothing is sweeter than the projected April 2023 opening of Water Oak Café & Bakery at Baybrook Passage Shopping Center in Webster. Baughman has signed a long-term lease for 3,053 square feet with a patio at 19435 W. Bay Area Blvd to bring her thriving online bakery Water Oak House – acclaimed for its cakes, pies and quiches – to a brick and mortar location in the bustling retail development directly across I-45 from Baybrook Mall. She was represented in the transaction by Wade Greene and Hannah Tosch of Colliers Houston, and Danny Miller represented the landlord, Gulf Coast Commercial Group.
According to Gulf Coast Commercial Group’s COO Gerald Crump, “We are so excited to bring the first truly boutique business to Baybrook Passage since we purchased the project last February. Residents and visitors are in for a real treat with Water Oak Café & Bakery’s incredible baked goods, and we are honored the charming proprietor chose this center, where she joins an evolving tenant mix at one of the most trafficked intersections in the market area.”
Baughman opened her first brick and mortar endeavor, Baytown tea room Dena’s Bakery, two decades ago. After a two-plus year run, she retooled to a home business format with Dinner Any Thyme, a catering firm that was also an early entrant into the prepared meal space. She grew that concept for nearly nine years before embarking on Water Oak House – named after the street where she’s been baking – in 2014.
Once Baughman was ready to pursue a brick and mortar site for her thriving business, she engaged Ashley Rosenfeld, Principal of Houston’s A’ La Carte Foodservice Consulting Group, to support concept development and project management.
Since January 2022, Baughman has been chronicling every key milestone of her newest journey on the Water Oak House website. Among the tidbits revealed through her blog is the selection of Austin-based interior designer Kim Lewis, who has provided design inspiration for TV projects, including Bar Rescue and Animal Planet, and been responsible for the buzzy looks of spaces ranging from Torchy’s Tacos at Minute Maid Park in Houston and Kesos Tacos in Austin to Tellers Coffee in Chicago.
The duo is working on a bright and playful Southern chic scheme that incorporates namesake white oak wood, a color palette incorporating peach plus soft blues and greens, as well as whimsical, botanical wallpaper elements, earthy tile selections, plus leather and marble accents. Charming seating vignettes will include café tables and banquettes, and the outdoor area will be framed by planters and incorporate both table and lounge seating.
Upon its completion, guests will enjoy a large array of Baughman’s signature, scratch-made baked goods, including full-sized and multilayered cakes, seasonal pies, cookies and quiches. These items will be served alongside a menu of sweet and savory breakfast and lunch items that represent modern takes on café classics. Breakfast will be comprised of more egg forward dishes, such as country ham eggs benedict, Meyer lemon avocado toast, and a maple sausage and white cheddar breakfast sandwich, along with other creative breakfast favorites like shrimp and grits, brioche French toast and peaches and cream overnight oats. The lunch menu will offer more sandwich, salad and soup focused options such as a curried chicken salad sandwich, black pepper bacon BLT salad and Texas chili.
Founded in 1999, Gulf Coast Commercial Group and its affiliates have overseen the development of more than eight million square feet of retail space in twelve states. While it has historically grown through new development projects, in recent years, the company has expanded its portfolio with quality shopping centers, such as Baybrook Passage, where it can add value.
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